On Memorial Day, as we honor those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, we wanted to share these excerpts from Billy Graham’s “I Saw Your Sons at War,” his diary of his visit to Korea during the height of the Korean War.
General Jenkins and his deputy, General Dewey, took us for a visit to the MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) Hospital in their immediate area. There were some Christmas decorations in the hospital, but the real decorations were the brave smiles on the faces of the men. We went from bed to bed, and talked and prayed with scores of these fellows, many who had been brought in after being wounded just that morning.
As we went from section to section, we saw men in every condition, some with minor wounds, others who were just hours from death. Emergency operations were underway constantly; blood transfusions were on every side. Here were American soldiers – unknown and unnamed to us – who had willingly paid a high price, some of the highest price, for the freedom we take so lightly. There was no holiday revelry here on Christmas Eve.
We talked to one young boy who lay face down in a canvas and aluminum rigging. The doctor whispered to me that he would never move again, he was completely paralyzed for life, only his right arm could move. I reached down for his hand and he said, “Mr. Graham, I would like to see your face.” I lay on the floor and looked up into his face, and then asked him to join me in a private word of prayer. Then he asked to see the General, so General Jenkins also got down on his back to look up and smile and give a word of encouragement to one of his men.
I turned away, trying to hold back the tears. This General considered this soldier almost as his own son. There was a bond of affection between enlisted men and officers that was wonderful to see. When men are dying for a common cause all of the usual barriers are broken down. They depend on each other and share in everything.
We walked from the bleeding, broken, dying men of that hospital into the crisp, clear air of Christmas Eve. I felt sadder, older. I felt as though I had gone in a boy and come out a man.